ASAH 2019 “Educator of the Year” Nominee - Harbor School

ASAH 2019 “Educator of the Year” Nominee

Mrs. Diane Steelman entered the field of Special Education by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with concentrations in Special Education and Early Childhood from Lock Haven University in May 1985. Diane holds New Jersey certification as Teacher of the Handicapped, Nursery School and Elementary Education.

     In September 1985, Diane began her career at the Cerebral Palsy Center of Monmouth and Ocean counties, which is now known as the Ladacin Center, located in Wanamassa. Over the course of the 16 years that Diane worked at this center, she gained experience in working with children of all ages and with a diversity of challenges, including significant physical impairments.

     Diane brought this background and experience with her when she arrived at the Harbor School in September 2001. Over the course of the 17 years that Diane has worked at the Harbor School, she has shown herself to be a highly dedicated and hardworking professional who always focuses on the needs of her students and their families as a priority. She strives to meet the individual needs of each student as well as recognizing and supporting each of her student’s families in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.

One of Diane’s strengths is in her strong sense of teamwork as she seeks to empower her teacher assistants to embrace their personal strengths as they assist in the learning process.

     She delegates tasks to the classroom staff and promotes a structured environment that is predictable and routine to maximize student learning. Ms. Steelman works closely with related services staff to implement therapeutic strategies throughout the school day and this integrated therapeutic model is always evidenced during IEP meetings as she collaborates with parents and Child Study Team members as well.

     Diane embraces the use of technology, including the interactive whiteboard, iPads, individual AAC devices and a variety of software programs to enhance her student’s educational progress with good success. Diane also embeds hands on and multi-sensory materials and activities into the daily classroom schedule to keep her students actively engaged by meeting their unique sensory needs and learning styles.

     Ms. Steelman’s commitment to the Harbor School extends beyond the school day as she also provides supervision during the after school and Saturday Social Skills program. Diane has offered guidance and support to the graduate level college student interns who implement this program by modelling appropriate strategies and interventions throughout these sessions. The Social Skills program includes student interns from Monmouth, Rutgers and Georgian Court universities and provides a unique opportunity for the students to share cutting edge research approaches while Diane shares her wealth of background and experience in working with the special needs population. This unique collaboration supports and fosters the vision of the Harbor School as we seek to empower each student with skills for life, work and recreation.  Diane continues to enhance her skills by attending both in-house and off site professional development training sessions focused on topics such as: medical/seizure precautions, Crisis Prevention (CPI) and collaboration with parents.

     Ms. Diane Steelman is an extraordinarily dedicated and well-respected staff member who we are proud to nominate for the 2019 ASAH Educator of the Year award.

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Anonymous - May 28, 2019

I am so glad that Kate was able to spend a year with Mrs. Steelman! I hope she wins!
Cori Nolte

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